Friday, August 23, 2013

Breaking: Reports of loose barges on Arkansas River and potential hits on bridges

Posted By on Fri, Aug 23, 2013 at 8:41 PM

CLOSED: Clinton Library bridge after barge escape.
  • CLOSED: Clinton Library bridge after barge escape.
Twitter lit up this evening with news of barges floating free on Arkansas River in downtown Little Rock and potential threats to bridges over the river. Earshot witnesses reported hearing the sounds of the barges clanging into bridges before floating on downsteam toward Pine Bluff.

One Twitter report said the Main Street bridge was  closed, whether as a precaution or otherwise, I don't know.

Fox 16 reported  that all bridges from I-430 on the west to I-30 downtown have been closed because of the loose barges. It remains unclear if they're believed to have suffered damage or  if it's a precautionary measure.

Inspections underway by Corps of Engineers, Highway Department.

UPDATE: The barges banged spans at least as far east as the pedestrian bridge over the river at the Clinton Library. It was closed, along with others, and remained close late in the evening. The closure of the I-30 and other major spans meant a traffic problem.

UPDATE: The bridges were reopened after 45 minutes or so of closure. Damage to bridges seems to have been limited, but further inspections are planned Saturday.

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